My dean, Dr. Chuck Lawless (of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at SBTS) has recently written a good article on setting goals in regards to evangelism. Here are his five points in summary form:
1. Set a goal for developing relationships with non-believers.
In most cases, we get so isolated in our Christian bubble that we seldom have strong friendships with non-believers. Countering this tendency is not easy unless we intentionally strive to develop relationships with people outside of the church.
2. Set a goal for praying for non-believers.
Determine to pray at least weekly that God will open their blinded minds (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) and transfer them from the dominion of darkness to the kingdom of His Son (Colossians 1:13). Pray as well that you will share the Gospel boldly and clearly when an open door is apparent (Ephesians 6:18-20; Colossians 2:3-4).
3. Set a goal for simply speaking about God’s goodness.
Speak about God to your spouse, a staff member, the convenience store clerk or the bank teller. Tell somebody about God’s work in your life each day, and sharing the Gospel may well become easier.
4. Set a goal for sharing the Gospel.
If you are not evangelizing now, consider a goal to share Christ at least twice a month. If you are already doing evangelism, ask God to move you toward sharing Christ at least weekly, if not daily.
5. Set a goal for mentoring new believers.
The Great Commission is not complete when a non-believer has chosen to follow Christ. If you are not mentoring young believers, you are missing a critical component of the disciple-making process.
Some of you may recall that I am currently in a 12-week series on evangelism at my church. Last week, I focused on God’s work in evangelism, and this coming Sunday I will be talking about our work in evangelism. I find the encouragement and direction of Dr. Lawless to be helpful in this regard. I realize that goal-setting has the potential of being performance-defeating and unhealthy, but I still think we should be consciously challenging ourselves to be more faithful and forthright in our gospel proclamation. The Southern Baptists who are seeking to be a part of a Great Commission Resurgence would find Dr. Lawless’ words on target, and I join Dr. Lawless in his concluding prayer and exhortation:
My prayer is that all Southern Baptists will so walk with God that evangelism is a natural outflow of our lives. We are a long way from there, however. We are weak disciple-makers, and our statistics make us painfully aware that we are doing far too little evangelism. All of our evangelism programs will be ineffective unless individual Southern Baptists reaffirm our commitment to the Great Commission. I pray that we will set some personal goals to move in that direction.